My anxiety keeps me tethered to the house, chained to my safe place. It’s like I am eternally riding on an invisible conveyer belt that lets me travel between my bedroom and the kitchen. Throughout the day, I am either sleeping or eating. Eating or sleeping. My bed brings me comfort. So does chocolate.
I stay inside of the house, even when I am feeling restless, when my legs want to run and my arms want to stretch and my lungs want to breathe in outside air, because I am scared of the unknown — and leaving the house means stepping into the unknown. It means other people. It means awkward moments. It means judgement. It means embarrassment.
I avoid social situations whenever possible because I do not trust myself to say the right thing. I am convinced I will trip over my words, stumble over my feet. My thoughts are set to paranoid. Worrying and worst case scenarios have become my secret obsessions.
That is why I stay inside. I stay where I am comfortable. I stay where I cannot be seen.
Of course, sometimes the discomfort seeps through the walls and settles inside of the house, inside the one place where I am supposed to feel safe. It happens when the phone rings and I am expected to answer it. It happens when knocks sound against the door and I am confused about who’s standing on the other side. It happens when an unexpected visitor stops by and I hide myself in a room to avoid speaking to them.
My anxiety never gives me a chance to rest. It makes me feel like an outsider at all hours, in all situations.
I wish the gears in my mind moved differently. I wish I had the ability to form friends wherever I went, to spark conversations with strangers at the store without knowing an ounce about them. I wish I wasn’t socially awkward. I wish I lived instead of just existed.
I keep reading books about travel and watching movies about road trips and creating fantasy scenarios in my head, but there is no adventure in my reality. No spontaneity.
If someone invites me out of my comfort zone, my stomach clenches. I hate unpredictability. I hate last second plans. They lead to making last second excuses: I have to work tonight, I have to get to sleep early tonight, I already have plans tonight.
I lie to please my anxiety. I lie to torture myself. I lie to isolate myself.
But the whole time my friends are out without me, I’ll experience FOMO. I’ll wonder how much fun I would have had alongside them. I’ll wonder if I made a mistake by choosing Netflix over networking. I’ll hate myself for not having the courage to pop my personal bubble.
Whenever I make the choice to stay home, I will wish I was out. But whenever I choose to leave the house, the entire time I will wish I was back at home.
Because of my anxiety, I never feel like I am in the right place. I always feel like I am meant to be somewhere else.